Thursday, October 14, 2021 5:36 pm
*Same Families Live on Both Sides
By Abubakar Hashim/Yanga, Kailahun District, bordering Guinea/Sierra Leone
The huts can be counted on the finger tips. Families on both sides of the divide know each other by first names. Trade and cultural activities abound in this disputed, tiny and hilly village, Yanga, located in the confluence of the popular Makona and Mafissia rivers between Sierra Leone and Guinea. In other words, Yenga, is in the border of the two neighbouring countries of Sierra Leone and Guinea
Yanga has been a perennial and persistent problem between the two countries
Though it has been officially demarcated to belong to Sierra Leone, Guinea still lays claim to it, by occasional invasion and retreat
The locals are Sierra Leoneans who speak Guinean dialects fluently.
Though it is under Sierra Leone’s security control, Guinean troops occasionally invade the area, causing chaos and uproar.
The genesis of the Yenga crisis started during the 11- year old war in the 90’s when Guinean military entered the area to help Sierra Leone to quell the war, that emanated from Liberia.
Today, Yenga is still topical in the news! It was on the top agenda of burning issues discussed by President Maada Bio with his host, President Doumbouya few days ago in Conakry.
A joint border patrol formed the climax of discussions of the two leaders, with other areas as trade, culture also discussed.
Inhabitants of Yenga use both countries’ currencies to trade. They speak dialects of both countries, resulting from long historical affinities.
Who really owns Yenga as Guinea still lays claims, despite a diplomatic settlement at the Mano River Union (MRU) level during late President Tejan Kabbah and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, brokered by President Al Hassan Quatara in 2005.
This agreement was strengthened by President Ernest Koroma and ousted President Alfa Conde.
But the problem still persists today in an area where families of same heritage live